Labour to tackle falling MMR jab rate with new children's medical record in NHS app

7 April 2024, 22:31

Labour will digitise children's NHS 'red book' of medical records if they win the general election - vowing to use technology to reform the health service and buck falling MMR vaccination rates.
Labour will digitise children's NHS 'red book' of medical records if they win the general election - vowing to use technology to reform the health service and buck falling MMR vaccination rates. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Labour will digitise children's NHS 'red book' of medical records if they win the general election - vowing to use technology to reform the health service and buck falling MMR vaccination rates.

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Parents and the NHS will be able to check on kids' vaccination history and appointments through a digital record in the NHS app under the changes.

The red book currently has been handed out to parents in a physical format since it was conceived 30 years ago.

Read More: NHS app will monitor patients’ step counts and heart rates 'to help people get back to work'

Tory health secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock have both pledged to digitise the record - but reforms have not yet been implemented.

Labour hopes its plans will help to boost MMR vaccination rates, which have fallen in recent years.

Measles outbreaks have at the same time become more common.

NHS Website viewed on a mobile phone.
Parents and the NHS will be able to check on kids' vaccination history and appointments through a digital record in the NHS app under the changes. Picture: Alamy

Wes Streeting MP, Labour's shadow health secretary, said: "A child born today will live to see the 22nd century and things we can't begin to imagine. Labour wants them to be part of the healthiest generation that ever lived.

"That's why we will digitise the red book, so children's health records are on the NHS App.

"This major step will transform children's healthcare and will mean more children protected against measles. Now measles is back. It's hard to think of a clearer sign of Britain's decline under the Tories.

"With the red book on the app, the NHS will be able to notify every parent of an unprotected child, give them accurate information about the MMR vaccine, and invite their child to get vaccinated.

"That's how a modern health service would tackle this public health crisis."

Wes Streeting, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of the United Kingdom, is seen in Westminster during morning media round.
Wes Streeting MP, Labour's shadow health secretary, said: "With the red book on the app, the NHS will be able to notify every parent of an unprotected child, give them accurate information about the MMR vaccine, and invite their child to get vaccinated.". Picture: Alamy
children immunisation and vaccination
Labour hopes its plans will help to boost MMR vaccination rates, which have fallen in recent years. Picture: Alamy

Labour will also commit to give patients greater control over their own healthcare through the NHS app.

This would include access to their medical records on their phone, notifications about screenings and vaccines they are eligible for, and being told what care they can expect when diagnosed with long-term conditions like asthma or diabetes.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed his party would "give power to the patient", and that GPs could ensure "time isn't wasted on box-ticking".

"In 2024, patients still wait on the phone at 8am, or even queue up in person, just to see a doctor. It's no wonder so many people don't bother or don't have time, illness is caught too late, pressures on the NHS pile up, and lives are lost," he said.

Sir Keir added: "The app shouldn't just be for healthcare, but healthier living too. When you reach the right age, you'll receive notifications for jabs, tests and screening, to catch diseases like breast and bowel cancer early."

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